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DOE looking at how to tap TRAIN law excise tax revenues for fuel subsidies

The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking at how it can tap the excise taxes collected under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to fund fuel subsidies amid the recent spike in the prices of petroleum products.

At a virtual press briefing on Friday, Energy Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said the DOE is looking at the Section 82 of the TRAIN law, “sinasabi doon ‘yung excise tax na nakokolekta pwedeng gamitin (it’s stated there that the excise taxes being collected can be used) in times of situations like this one.”

“We are now in the process of asking the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] kung pwede nating gamitin ito (if we can tap this),” Erguiza said.

Section 82 of Republic Act 10963 or TRAIN law provided that 30% of incremental revenues generated under the law can be used to fund unconditional cash transfers, fuel vouchers for public utility jeepneys, among others.

“We will make suggestions on how to tap any resources but part of the resolution is to be able to determine from DBM, kung magkano nakolekta at pwede [kung] bang gamitin for this purpose (how much was collected and if it can be used for this purpose),” Erguiza said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier proposed to grant the DOE the authority to suspend excise tax on fuel amid the continued rise in oil

Cusi estimated that suspending excise tax can lower pump prices by around P8 to P10 per liter.

The Department of Finance said that the suspension of imposition of excise taxes on petroleum may result in “substantial revenue loss amounting to P131.4 billion for 2022.”

The Energy chief is seeking to amend the Oil Deregulation Law, which will include an authority for the department to suspend fuel excise tax.

The DOE is also pushing for the unbundling of oil prices, which he said would result in greater market transparency by establishing the trends in the prices of oil and finished petroleum products.

Cusi said the government is also studying how to reimplement its subsidy program for public transport drivers to alleviate the burden of higher fuel costs.

Amid the price increase of fuel products, jeepney drivers called for a fare hike of at least P3.—AOL, GMA News